Monday, November 10, 2014

MEET THE JUDGES! Pitchmas 2014 official judge list!

Introducing 2014's Holiday #PitchMAS participating agents and editors!

Logo Awesomeness courtesy of S.P. McConnell


We're waiting on a few more judges to confirm, but we couldn't wait to introduce you to our OFFICIAL judges!!


*Kevan Lyon is a Literary Agent and partner with Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. She has more than 20 years in the publishing business, including 9+ years as a Literary Agent and 17+ years on the wholesale, retail and distribution side of the business, Kevan brings an informed and unique perspective to her work with clients. Her background on the buying and retail side of publishing affords her helpful insight into the challenging world of retail bookselling and distribution. Her list includes NY Times and USA Today Bestselling authors Jennifer Armentrout, Jennifer Probst, Kristen Proby, Molly McAdams, Jennifer Robson, Laura Griffin and several others.

Kevan works with her clients to help them realize their dreams of being published and to build a long term career as a writer. The Marsal Lyon Literary Agency strives to partner with their clients on all phases of the publishing path. When not reading clients’ work or obsessively monitoring email, Kevan loves to walk near the beach with her 4 legged office mates.

Wish List: Kevan handles women’s fiction, with an emphasis on commercial women’s fiction, young adult and new adult fiction and all genres of romance.

For more information on the agency and their client list, visit their web site at, visit their Facebook page, or follow Kevan on Twitter!

*Kathleen Rushall: After working at two previous agencies, Kathleen Rushall joined Marsal Lyon in 2011. She represents writers for all age groups of children’s literature, including picture books (fiction and non-fiction), middle grade, and young adult novels. In addition to her fiction list, Kathleen also represents select nonfiction and is interested in lifestyle, mind/ body/ spirit topics, yoga, alternative medicine, parenting, crafts, business, women’s interest, humor, pop-culture, and some how-to.

Wish List: Kathleen is also looking for fresh new adult, women’s fiction, and romance projects. The most important element that draws Kathleen to any project is a strong voice and unforgettable characters.

A few of Kathleen’s recent or soon to be published books include BACKHOE JOE by Lori Alexander (Harper Collins), CUT ME FREE by J.R. Johansson (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), THE ONE THING by Marci Curtis (Hyperion), IT’S RAINING BATS AND FROGS by Rebecca Colby (Feiwel and Friends), FOREST FAIRY CRAFTS by Lenka Vodicka and Asia Currie (C & T Publishing), BHAKTI FLOW YOGA by Rusty Wells (Shambhala), THE WICKED WE HAVE DONE by Sarah Harian (NAL/Penguin), DARK PARADISE by Angie Sandro (Forever Yours/Grand Central), HOW TO OUTRUN A CROCODILE WHEN YOUR SHOES ARE UNTIED by Jess Keating (Sourcebooks), and DEAR DRAGON by Josh Funk (Viking/ Penguin).

*Abigail Samoun was an in-house children’s book editor for over ten years, working on a wide range of projects, from board books to young adult novels. Her books received such honors as the CCBC Charlotte Zolotow award, the New York Public Library Ezra Jack Keats award, and the Pura Belpre. In 2011, Abigail made the transition from editing to agenting, co-founding Red Fox Literary. She is the author of three forthcoming children’s books, What’s In Your Purse? (Chronicle Books, 2014) and How Aligator Says Goodbye and How Hippo Says Hello (Sterling Publishing, 2014).

Abigail likes to organize her library according to which authors would get along well together (the Brontes next to George Elliot, Lois Lowry next to Margaret Atwood). She’s shelved all her Tesla books next to Mark Twain’s so that the old friends can keep each other company. Abigail lives in Sonoma, California with her entomologist husband, two dogs, a gaggle of chickens, and a curious little boy named Tristan. Visit

Wish List: She’s looking for YA and middle-grade in a wide range of genres from high literary to historical adventure to a good creepy ghost story and everything in between.

*Patricia Nelson is an agent at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. She started at Marsal Lyon in early 2014 as the assistant to Kevan Lyon, and has previously interned at The Angela Rinaldi Literary Agency and in the children’s division at Running Press. Patricia received her bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary in 2008, and also holds a master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in Gender Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. Before joining the world of publishing, she spent four years as a university-level instructor of literature and writing.​

Wish List: I represent adult and young adult fiction, and am actively looking to build my list. On the adult side, I'm looking especially for upmarket women's fiction, romance (contemporary, historical, and New Adult), and accessible literary fiction. I'm also looking for all genres of YA, including contemporary/realistic as well mystery/thriller, horror, magical realism, light science fiction and character-driven fantasy. I'm always interested in finding exciting multicultural and LGBTQ fiction, both YA and adult. In general, I love stories with complex characters that jump off the page and thoughtfully drawn, believable relationships.

*Nicole Resciniti: Nicole has been listed by Publisher's Marketplace as a top dealmaker in the country, and named ACFW's 2012 Agent of the Year.
She loves discovering new talent and helping established authors to take their career to the next level. Nicole is a member of AAR, ACFW, RWA, and Mensa. She holds degrees in biology, psychology, and behavioral neuroscience. Nicole taught in the public school system and has worn many hats before heeding her calling to become a literary agent.

Wishlist: HEA’s are a must for romance. Mainstream suspense, thrillers, mysteries, YA and inspirational novels are welcome. A consummate science geek and card-carrying Mensa member, Nicole would love to find the next great science fiction/fantasy novel or action/adventure masterpiece. 

*Shannon Hassan, an agent at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, has worked in publishing and law for more than a decade.

Wish List: She represents authors of upmarket, women’s, and literary fiction, young adult and middle grade fiction, and select nonfiction. With respect to fiction, she is drawn to fresh voices, compelling characters, and crisp prose, and enjoys both contemporary and historical settings. For nonfiction, she is interested in exceptional narratives from authors with strong platforms.

*Laura Zats graduated from Grinnell College with degrees in English and anthropology. While completing her studies, she took advantage of her love of Young Adult (YA) literature and wrote a thesis on identity formation in YA. She’s been working as an editor since 2011 and has held positions at companies in both the US and the UK. In 2013, Laura joined Team Red Sofa as an intern but quickly became more of an apprentice, leveling up to Associate Agent in the same year.

Even though she loved YA books first, titles that are Middle Grade, romance, and Sci-fi/Fantasy have been slowly taking hold. Picking a favorite genre now would be like choosing between puppies and kittens. In her free time, Laura likes to craft, swing dance, bake, and binge on Netflix marathons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Doctor Who.

Wish List: Young Adult — Fiction, especially contemporary. I love funny and gritty, especially when the two go together. Interested in geekery, retellings, innovative storytelling, and authentic voices. Please no paranormal romance, contemporary romance, dystopia, Chosen One plotlines, or didacticism.
Middle Grade — Fiction, especially contemporary. Prefers smart, literary writing disguised as adventures. Looking for books that are heavy with STEM and will appeal to girls and boys.
Contemporary Women’s Fiction — Looking for funny, lighter fare. Think Sophie Kinsella.
Science Fiction/Fantasy — Must pass either the Mako Mori or Bechdel tests. Love non-traditional settings, fast-paced storytelling, anthropological elements, and smart humor. Please no high fantasy.
Romance/Erotica — Especially contemporary. Must be feminist, have verbal consent throughout, and feature an independent, smart heroine. Please no vampires, werewolves, angels, demons, or mermaids.
New Adult — I want the same things as I want in YA, but will also consider contemporary romance.

Wish list for every genre and category: feminism, diversity (in all forms), unconventional storytelling techniques, and voice-driven narratives.

Jessica Negrón, Talcott Notch: attended University of New Haven, where she acquired a BA in English Writing. For five years she worked and interned with various small, local publications in both an editorial and design capacity, until she found her place with Talcott Notch. In January 2013, she began taking on her own clients, representing speculative fiction, psychological thrillers, cozy mysteries, and romance.

Wishlist: Books that catch her eye usually have incredible world-building, memorable characters, and a dash of darkness. Her primary focus right now is diversity--the world needs more authors of color writing SFF (and everything else, really), and more stories in all genres featuring characters of diverse genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities, physical abilities, etc. Fair warning that books without any of these elements probably won't be attractive to Jessica.

*Julie Gwinn, Seymour Agency: most recently served as Marketing Manager for the Christian Living line at Abingdon Press and before that served as Trade Book Marketing Manager and then Fiction Publisher for the Pure Enjoyment line at B&H Publishing Group, a Division of LifeWay Christian Resources. Last year she was awarded Editor of the Year from the American Christian Fiction Writers and won B&H’s first Christy award for Ginny Yttrup’s debut novel Words. She has more than 25 years public relations and marketing experience and has also worked in marketing for several Nashville non-profit organizations including the TN Assoc. for the Education of Young Children, the Nashville Area Red Cross and the YWCA. She is married and has two children.

Wish List: contemporary romance, historical romance, spec/fantasy, YA.

*Terrie Wolf, AKA Literary
a full-service agency that represents both commercial and literary fiction and nonfiction projects. Prior positions in publishing, international media, government, and education have bolstered the groundwork for our network of connections in print, television and film. AKALM is honored to focus on the whole enchilada when it comes to career building and multi-platform opportunities for our diverse list of clients and their endeavors. AKALM collectively represents adult fiction including upmarket women’s, all romance, the occasional mystery, thriller or suspense offering and soft horror. Terrie will also consider literary works that might lean a tad to the commercial side and all levels of children’s books. Her nonfiction interests include food/celebration, lifestyle, faith, memoir, empowerment, narrative and pop culture.

Wish List: Exclusive to PitchMAS, Terrie would like to find a completely different cozy with fantastic characters, a fun adventure/thriller, and an exciting inspirational romance.

*Kaylee Davis:Growing up in The Middle of Nowhere, Ohio, Kaylee’s lifeline to sanity was the local library where she nurtured her love of all things literary. Kaylee received a B.A. in English Literature and a B.A. in Sociology from Miami University, and she is certified in Copyediting from Emerson College. As an Associate Literary Agent with Dee Mura Literary, Kaylee is particularly interested in science fiction, fantasy, middle grade, young adult, new adult, LGBTQ, steampunk, and literary. You can find her hanging out on Twitter at @Kaylee_Davis_ and online at

Wish List: Kaylee is actively acquiring Upper MG, YA, NA, and Adult fiction. She especially adores science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary with a literary bent. She is interested in diverse protagonists taking charge and pushing the story forward, unlikely allies joining forces, flawed heroes coming into their own, and opposites attracting.


*Blair Thornburgh: Quirk Books: Quirk is an independent publisher and seeker of all things awesome, operating out of a former barrel factory in Philadelphia and distributed worldwide by Random House. We publish 25 “strikingly unconventional” books a year: fiction and non-fiction; adults, YA, and MG. You may know us from some of our bestselling titles like PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES, MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN, or the WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S STAR WARS series. Editorially, I love being hands-on with authors and helping them to think in all directions as we develop projects together.

Wish List: I’m actively seeking fiction—adult or YA—with a high-concept hook that’s backed up by excellent writing. Quirk is super-proud of our books’ strong, original writing and top-notch design, so stories with a visual element are an excellent fit for us. I’d love to find a fresh and unconventional love story, either with a great voice, an unusual couple or setting, or some intriguing narrative style. I’m really interested in creating something new, not chasing trends (I love zombies, I really do, but their time in the spotlight is over). I’m also after stuff that plays with narrative form (emails, diaries, whatever Internet media the kids are up to today). I love speculative concepts that follow through with beautiful writing (like THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE, or Quirk’s LAST POLICEMAN trilogy). And I would love, love, love to find a Quirk-y female protagonist to add to our fiction roster.

*Latoya C. Smith, Samhain Publishing: started her editorial career as an administrative assistant to New York Times bestselling author, Teri Woods at Teri Woods Publishing. It was there that she discovered her passion for book publishing. Latoya worked at TWP seasonally while pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree at Temple University. She graduated Cum Laude from Temple in August of 2005. She then attained a full-time position at Kensington Publishing in March of 2006. In October 2006, Latoya moved over to Grand Central Publishing, an imprint at Hachette Book Group. For the span of her eight years there, Latoya has acquired a variety of titles from Hardcover fiction and non-fiction, to digital romance and erotica titles. She was also featured in Publishers Weekly, USA Today as well as various author, book conference, and book blogger websites. She is the winner of the 2012 RWA Golden Apple for Editor of the Year. In early 2014, she appeared on CSpan2 where she contributed to a panel discussing the state of book publishing. Now an Executive Editor at Samhain Publishing, Latoya acquires short and long form mainstream romance and erotica as well as African American fiction and non-fiction.

Wish List: Short and long form romance and erotica in all Contemporary subgenres (cowboys, military, new adult, romantic suspense etc) and paranormal for the mainstream, multicultural, and GLBTQ audiences. I tend to shy away from historical and sci/fi fantasy. We do not publish YA or poetry.

*Kerri Buckley, Sr. Editor Carina Press: Kerri Buckley got her first taste of the great editorial adventure during a semester-long internship at The Feminist Press in 2001. Thoroughly hooked, she joined Bantam Dell (a division of Random House) after graduating from Kenyon College and stayed there for eight years, editing both fiction and non-fiction for various imprints under the Ballantine Bantam Dell umbrella. Recent releases from Carina include Hate to Love You by Elise Alden, Blamed: A Blood Money Novel by Edie Harris, Knock Out by Michele Mannon, and Gun Shy by Eleri Stone.

Find her on Twitter @BuckleyKerri

Wish List: Thrilled to have been invited to the digital-first party at Harlequin’s Carina Press, Kerri is actively acquiring across all genres but is most interested in building her list in the following areas: romantic suspense, contemporary romance, New Adult, erotic romance, male/male romance, historical romance, and cozy or hardboiled mysteries.

I’m actively acquiring in all genres except for sci-fi. Here’s what I’m crossing my fingers to find in my submission inbox ASAP:
Dry, funny, or sarcastic mysteries, cozy or otherwise. If your gumshoe has a standout or off-color sense of humor, please send him/her my way
Darker, grittier mysteries, particularly psychological thrillers
Heroine-driven romantic suspense. Kickass girls with guns/knives/lasers/nunchucks. Unusual, non-traditional professions a bonus: female firefighters, submarine captains, military unit leaders, etc. Emphasis on the suspense (rather than the romance) or a 50/50 split
Contemporary *and* historical projects set in Eastern Europe and/or involving Eastern European families, traditions, mysticism, lore. A lot of flexibility here, but no time travel, please
An Army Wives-like contemporary series where the focus is on the homefront rather than the battlefield

*Meredith Rich, Digital Editor, Bloomsbury Spark: Meredith is the digital editor for YA and NA at Bloomsbury Spark. Her previous experience includes e-first publishing, years as a children's bookseller, and a professional storyteller, who now gets to help authors tell their own stories. You can find her on twitter at @MeredithJHRich.

Wish List: Bloomsbury Spark is a one-of-a-kind, global, digital imprint from Bloomsbury Publishing dedicated to publishing a wide array of exciting fiction eBooks to teen, YA and new adult readers. Our outstanding list features multiple genres: romance, contemporary, dystopian, paranormal, sci-fi, mystery, thriller, and we are always looking for new projects!

*Stacy Abrams, Entangled: Executive Editorial Director of Entangled Teen and Select
Stacy Abrams started in the publishing industry in 2002, and was previous an editor at Bloomsbury Publishing’s children’s division before joining the Entangled team. Stacy has edited such award-winning and high-caliber YA authors as Jessica Warman, Tracy Deebs, Cindi Madsen, and Rachel Harris, among many others, and her books have earned starred reviews from all the major review journals. In addition to editing, she has been a freelance copy editor for several major New York publishing houses. She earned her Bachelor’s in English at Northwestern University and currently resides in New York City with her husband and too-cute puppy. Find her on Twitter at @StacyAbramsEdit.

A few of Stacy’s recently published novels include Cinderella’s Dress by Shonna Slayton, Ready to Wed by Cindi Madsen, Chasing the Runaway Bride by Susan Meier, and Accidentally Married on Purpose by Rachel Harris.

Wishlist: Stacy is most actively acquiring for Entangled Teen’s soon-to-be-launched Crush and Crave digital teen category imprints. She’s looking for romantic comedy inspired novels for those lines that utilize tried-and-true category tropes in the teen world and format. Stacy is also looking for high-quality, high-concept full-length teen novels for the Teen print line and shorter, sweet adult category romances for the Bliss imprint.

*Katie Hamstead, Curiosity Quills Press: Fueled by her love of all things literary, and driven to help fellow writers bring their dreams to fruition, Katie Hamstead became an Acquisitions Editor for Curiosity Quills Press in July of 2013. She has acquired such published titles as THE DECEMBER PEOPLE and THE UNDEAD: PLAYING FOR KEEPS. A multi-published author herself, Katie knows the value of a distinct voice. She is always searching for something new and unique, with a compelling hook and an interesting voice that demands she read on well into the hours of the night.

Wishlist: Currently on the hunt for Speculative fiction of all varieties, sci-fi, fantasy, dystopian, and historical manuscripts, Katie prefers her acquisitions with strong romantic elements.

*Curiosity Quills Press: Taking part in PitchMAS this year are a selection of Editors from Curiosity Quills Press including Managing Partner, Lisa Gus, VP of Operations, Andrew Buckley, and Acquisitions Editors, Katie Teller (bio and wishlist above), Kathleen Kubasiak and Vicki Keire.

At Curiosity Quills Press, we believe a book is a portal to another world, a break from reality that frees both mind and spirit. We want to bring a little piece of that magic to every life we touch with the written word. W. Somerset Maugham once said, “To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” Everyone needs a place where they can relax, become another person, travel to a different realm. Welcome to CQ Press :)

Wishlist: Here’s what we’re ideally looking for this year: Contemporary, historical romance, historical fantasy, dieselpunk, and anything MG.
xx Tam & Jessa

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